On climate, Labor has a larger 2030 carbon reduction target, and is likely to have stronger sectoral policy approaches, such as around the take-up of electric vehicles. The national debate on climate has moved a long way in the last couple of years; and more policy detail is likely over the next couple.
Labor has foreshadowed larger budget deficits over the next few years than the previous government, but from a macroeconomic perspective I don’t think the differences are meaningful.
Whichever party won government the deficit was going to stay wide, spending high, and government spending contributing to economic activity at a time the RBA is working intensely to pull it back.
Things have changed
The Australian electorate, like several others worldwide, has become increasingly polarised, more uncertain about major parties, and the nature of stratification within the electorate seems to be changing - all at the same time!
In several other countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and France, the political nexus is shifting from labour versus capital towards something different - more of an urban/higher educated vs rural/perhaps less educated split.
In this election these changes have tended to narrow the stated differences between the parties, rather than widen them, as has sometimes occurred elsewhere.
That was going to leave whichever party was elected at risk of a bit of policy piñata. They might be responding to issues as they arise, rather than choosing the issues to prosecute.
There is a slice of good news on reform though. I think some types of reform now have a chance. I am not necessarily optimistic (!), but I am hopeful.
When demand is deficient and deflation the risk, reform is hard to sell because it weakens pricing power in the economy and threatens job security even more. Certainly, that is the case in the short term. But when it’s the supply side of the economy that is the constraint, the reform problem is turned on its head.
For instance, embracing embedding flexible working, improving the national training system, and delivering much higher access to genuinely affordable childcare would seem to be quite easy wins with little apparent adjustment cost, and will pay for themselves in record time.
Judging by the standards of the last 15 years, one thing we can guarantee is the political excitement is unlikely to end with this election result.
Richard Yetsenga is Chief Economist at ANZ
This article originally appeared on ANZ Institutional's Insights website